I still remember the first time I got an idea of how serious the rivalry between the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons is. I was in Harrah’s Casino and a guy wearing a super big Atlanta Falcons Mike Vick jersey came in. Then more Falcons fans showed up and then more. Before I knew it there was a mini gathering of Falcons fans dancing and having a good time. Before long some Saints fans – as expected – came over to break up the fun. Nothing major happened but I quickly realized that “this rivalry is real”. This was before the Saints won their Super Bowl, before “28-3”, before “the shoulder lean in Minnesota”, before “the Saints could win a Super Bowl in Atlanta”, and finally before the most recent moment “the NFL blew it”.
Let me start by saying this rivalry makes no sense. I mean no sense with the utmost respect. I mean anytime the Mayor of a city says something like this: “Atlanta mayor: ‘Anybody other than the Saints’ “Just anybody other than the Saints. I know there’s going to be a bounty on my head for saying that,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said while smiling.” via wwltv.com. you know a rivalry is real.
Being that I’m neutral I don’t feel any kind of way about the outcome. I’m only here for the jokes. I think both fan bases enjoy seeing the other suffer more than they enjoy seeing their own team win. That actually helps add fuel to the fire. The way Saints fans celebrated “28-3” you’d have thought they won the Super Bowl. I have to say, before 2006 I wasn’t sure if Saints fans even existed outside of New Orleans. I only knew that the ones in New Orleans wore paper bags. They had witnessed their team suffer some of the funniest defeats the NFL has seen. Then they got good for a spell and their fans popped out like Gremlins.
Falcons fans exist in two factions, WV (with Vick) and AV (after Vick). Most of them are still stuck in WV. They have a respectable QB but that isn’t enough. They have arguably the best wide receiver currently in the NFL and that’s not enough. The franchise has been to 2 Super Bowls and walked away both times in defeat. It’s bad enough losing the Super Bowl. It’s even worse when you have a story line to add to it. Falcons fans will always remember Super Bowl XXXIII as the time Eugene Robinson got busted for soliciting a prostitute. And Saints fans will always remember Super Bowl LI as “28-3”. The Falcons blew a 28-3 lead to the New England Patriots and suffered one of the toughest defeats I’ve seen. Like I said, these rivalry makes no sense.
Then on this past Sunday we had a new installment added. The Saints and their fans were giddy at the thought of playing for a championship in their rival’s stadium. I mean they could taste it. Then one of the most outrageous “no calls” in sports history happened. The way Saints fans have reacted since that moment has been nothing but comical. They’ve been crying on every social media platform you can think of. They’ve tried to find information about the ref that missed the call. They’ve started a petition to boycott the NFL and Super Bowl LIII. They’ve been citing the NFL Rules Book calling for Commissioner Roger Goodell to have the last 2 minutes of the 4th quarter replayed. They have one fan putting up billboards in the Atlanta Metro Area proclaiming that the Saints were cheated. And sadly they’re now filing a lawsuit against the NFL. This has been the saddest reaction to a defeat that I can recall. As you’d expect, Atlanta fans have been giving them the blues since Sunday.
Normally I end with something. Today I’ll just leave you with these to laugh at: